LPL Team Preview: Will Jaffna Kings clinch their 4th title?

Lanka Premier League 2023

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Three-time champions Jaffna Kings will begin their title defense campaign against last year’s runners-up Colombo Strikers in the opener of Lanka Premier League Season 4 which is set to kick off on 30th of July at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo.

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History

Year Matches Wins Losses No Result League Stage Standing Final Standing
2020 10 6 3 1 3rd Champions
2021 11 8 3 0 1st Champions
2022 10 8 2 0 2nd Champions
Total 31 22 8 1  

In 2020, the Jaffna franchise entered the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League as Jaffna Stallions before being renamed as Jaffna Kings ahead of the LPL 2021 under new ownership.

They have won all three of their LPL titles under the leadership of Thisara Perera and the former Sri Lanka all-rounder is set to lead his side in the forthcoming LPL season too, eyeing at making  it 4 in 4 for the Kings.

Key Players

The Lanka Premier League 2023 reached new heights when it held its first ever player auction on the 14th of June, becoming just the 3rd franchise league to do so. The organizers also gave the franchises the opportunity to pre-sign 3-4 players before the auction.

Accordingly, the defending champions pre-signed their captain Thisara Perera and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana as local players, as well as Proteas’ southpaw David Miller and dashing Afghan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz as overseas players.

A batter like David Miller is a dynamic asset for any team in the shortest format of the game where he is considered as a great finisher. A hard-hitting left hander, Miller has amassed over 9,000 runs in the T20 format with a terrific strike-rate of 139.25, and has also stroked 4 hundreds and 44 fifties.

Left-arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka became the tournament’s most expensive signing at the auction, when he was bought by Jaffna Kings for US$ 92,000. Right-arm leg spinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth who played a pivotal role in the last edition for Jaffna, was also retained in the squad. The rising talent from Jaffna has played for the franchise in all three seasons and captured 19 wickets so far.

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Former Sri Lanka U19 skipper Dunith Wellalage, stylish left-hand batter Charith Asalanka and experienced Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik were also picked in the auction. Apart from them, they have also bought Zaman Khan, Chris Lynn and Hardus Viljoen as their overseas signings in the auction.

When focusing on the batting, Avishka Fernando has smashed 926 runs for Jaffna Kings as the tournament’s leading run-scorer overall, but the Kings will miss his services this time as he moves to Dambulla Aura. Afghanistan keeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who will be their key batter at the top of the order, was also amongst the top 5 in the batting charts with more than 600 runs while skipper Perera is sitting in the 6th spot with 550 runs at a staggering strike rate of 195.03.

On the bowling front, Maheesh Theekshana who has loads of experience playing in various leagues now, is the 4th leading wicket-taker in LPL history with 26 wickets. Nuwan Thushara, who played for Galle in all the previous seasons and is the 2nd highest wicket-taker in LPL history, is set to represent the defending champions in the upcoming season.

Squad

Thisara Perera (c), David Miller, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Maheesh Theekshana, Charith Asalanka, Dunith Wellalage, Shoaib Malik, Pathum Kumara, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Theesan Vithushan, Asanka Manoj, Nishan Madushka, Asitha Fernando, Hardus Viljoen, Nuwan Thushara, Dilshan Madushanka, Zaman Khan, Ashan Randika, Rathnaraja Thanuradan, Chris Lynn, Asela Gunaratne

Fixtures

Against Date Venue Time
Colombo Strikers 30th July R. Premadasa (Colombo) 7.30 PM
Dambulla Aura 1st August R. Premadasa (Colombo) 3.00 PM
Dambulla Aura 4th August Pallekele 7.30 PM
Colombo Strikers 5th August Pallekele 7.30 PM
Galle Titans 7th August Pallekele 7.30 PM
B – Love Kandy 8th August Pallekele 7.30 PM
B – Love Kandy 12th August R. Premadasa (Colombo) 3.00 PM
Galle Titans 13th August R. Premadasa (Colombo) 3.00 PM

 

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